Monday, February 20, 2017

DIY Calvin & Hobbes Terrarium... WITH DINOSAURS

I've been brainstorming at the dollar store again, you guys, and BEHOLD:


DIY Progress Goes "Boink."


Inspired by the time Calvin turned a box into a time machine, and this happened:


Like a lot of you I grew up on Calvin & Hobbes, and I still have all the books lined up on my shelves (right next to my Far Side collection). I've read and reread them a dozen times over, and cherish Watterson's blend of imagination, silliness, and philosophical musings.

On a professional note, Cake Wrecks and Wreck the Halls are both published by Andrews McMeel, the same publisher behind the Calvin & Hobbes books. Not only did I completely fangirl freakout over this, Bill Watterson's famously reclusive nature paved the way for me as an author. Thanks to him, the folks at AM didn't make me do TV or live radio interviews (other publishers would have), and were so much more understanding and flexible, having dealt with someone like me before.

So yeah, lots of love for Bill, Calvin, and Hobbes over here.
But enough tangents, back to the crafty goodness:


Oooh, maybe next I should make a Spaceman Spiff version, with lots of sand and rocks. :D

Inspiration hit when I found that plastic terrarium globe next to some fake mossy rocks at Dollar Tree:

Then when John and I spotted those plastic dinosaurs in the toy aisle, I knew exactly what to do.

My total out of pocket for this was about $3: one dollar each for the globe, mossy rocks, and dinosaur toys. (I didn't end up using the loose moss.) Everything else came from the backyard or around the house: bits of gravel, twigs, some walnut dust from the garage, cotton batting for clouds, and the tiniest print-out of Calvin & Hobbes on plain paper.

To make your own, start by hot-gluing the rocks in place:



You want to begin with the biggest elements, then work your way down:
That broken twig looks just like a petrified tree stump, right?

My dino had a less-than-stellar paint job:
 ... so I pounced on some brown craft paint to tone down the shiny green.

Here's the globe filled in with gravel and walnut dust:
(If your stones are too big, then do what we did: hit them with a hammer! Boom. Insta-gravel.)

The dinosaur was a little wobbly, so I sliced off the insides of his feet to fit the curve of the hill. Then I used small dabs of hot glue on his feet to squish him in place.

Next fold a teeny tiny cardboard box:

 John did the math and drew this template for me on a piece of brown craft paper. A paper grocery bag would also work.

Write "Time Machine" on the side in even tinier letters. (That took some practice.)

At first I planned to have the Time Machine sitting in the foreground empty, but John convinced me to add a paper cutout of Calvin & Hobbes:

 

With them inside I figured the box should be airborne, so I made the Time Machine "fly" with a small piece of wire:

 The box is so small and light there's no glue needed: just stick the wire down the back corner...

 ... then jam it into the Styrofoam rock.

"To the future!"

My final touch - which doesn't show well in these photos - are a few wispy clouds made from fiber fill. Hot glue is too goopy for that, of course, so instead I used a blast of spray adhesive to attach the clouds to the top of the globe.

  And that's it!


  Even the back is kind of cute, since it gives you a better look at the dinosaur.

You can hang this in a window or set it on a shelf, but aim for eye-level or higher, so it's easier to see in to. John claimed ours for his room, so Calvin & Hobbes live on Planet Tigger now:


 This also gives you a better idea of just how small the whole thing is.


Hope this inspires some craftiness out there! Especially since tiny toys and collectibles are all the rage right now. I've seen blind bags at Disney with figures the size of your fingertip! You could also use LEGO mini figs, fold your own paper TARDIS, or even hang a little X-wing from the top with fishing line. Seriously, SO many fun geeky possibilities!


Now. let's go exploring.



*****

Want more? Then check out the Craft Page to see all my tutorials and projects in one place!

45 comments:

  1. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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  2. As a Lego builder, I'm gonna have to look into that suggestion....maybe not gluing the FIGS in place, but some small plates to click them into position....now you have my brain working, Jen! agh!

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  3. John was right to convince you to add Calvin and Hobbs! It is the finishing touch that puts us in the terrarium. You are so clever and talented Jen! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. This is amazing. Also, we have the complete Far Side collection sitting right next to the complete Calvin & Hobbs on our living room shelf. :-)

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  5. Aaaaaaaaahh! I must make!!! This earned the husband's seal of approval as well. Job well done!

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  6. I love seeing Hobbes with Tigger.

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  7. oh goodness this is amazing. Nice Job. And you should check out Foxtrot if you haven't already. Geeky younger son Jason is all of us fangirling over every nerdy movie that's currently in theaters.

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  8. I love this so much!!! ❤❤❤

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  9. I love it! I also don't need another craft project right now, but...I do drive past Dollar Tree multiple times a week.

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  10. This is THE BEST ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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  11. Ok, as adorable as that is (and it is stinking precious!), I'm going to need to hear more about these teeny blind bags!

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  12. For any collectible that you don't want to glue in place (lego or other non-porous things), you can often use rubber cement. It rubs right off when you are ready to change the craft.

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  13. Years ago, I worked in the library of a law firm. In the elevator one day and a paralegal commented on the Calvin & Hobbes stiickers on my car. She said, "My uncle draws that." I just blinked at her and thought for a minute. Her name was Lisa Watterson! Immediately fangirled all over the place (scaring a lawyer in the process) and showed her my Calvin tattoo!

    In hindsight, tragically inappropriate. She may have avoided me the rest of the time I was there.

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  14. This. Is. Fabulous. My favorite Epbot craft ever. Great idea.

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  15. Oh. I have a (mostly) dormant *thing* for (ie: intense covetousness of, admiration for and desire to make) miniatures/terrariums. I've recently discovered the range of tiny faux moss balls, trees, shrubs etc that are available. I must do this! ...I wonder if I could make a Fallout Vault entrance?

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  16. Fantastic! I can even add a tiny picture of my daughter in the time machine with Calvin and Hobbes!

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  17. Looove it! <3 All the Calvin & Hobbes nostalgia, PLUS - miniatures! <3

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  18. Squeeeeeeeee! Our whole family loves Calvin and Hobbes (the kids even dressed as Calvin and Hobbes a few years ago for Halloween, and it was distressing to see how many people *didn't* recognize them). This will go on the project to-do list!

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  19. Okay. So this is one of my favorites of your creations, and that's saying a lot!! I LOVE it.

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  20. I'm all nostalgic now! As a kid, I hated the fact that calvin didn't pay attention in school (I was a pure Sally). It wasn't until I got older that I appreciated his amazing imagination. This is simply divine! I just love the simple whimsy to it.

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  21. LOVE THIS. Now I know what I am making my husband for his birthday gift. :)

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  22. I have to make this for my brother and maybe one for me. Need cardboard box math STAT! Math and I do not get along. Great job!

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  23. OMG, love! I adore Calvin and Hobbes. This is so cute!

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  24. WHAT A GREAT IDEA! I grew up with Calvin & Hobbes and can still picture my dad reading the comics to me before bed, and I'm love being surrounded by low-care plants. Thank you so much!

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  25. I love this! I got a terrarium for an actual live plant, but it was such a pain to water that I moved the plant to a different home and was going to get rid of the terrarium. Now I'm totally going to have to try to make something like this instead!

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  26. I love this so much! I'd like to try doing a Snowmen Prophets of Doom one :)

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    1. Yessss! Of course it's already summer again here, but next Christmas I am SO making murderous Snowmen Ornaments. Ha!

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  27. Oooo...This is perfect. We are doing nerdy terrariums for our table centerpieces at our wedding and this would be a nice addition.

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  28. Calvin & Hobbes Terrarium pic sent to hubbs, now getting "!!!" messages, which means - YOU MUST DO THE THING! I NEED THE THING!

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  29. Oh. My. Heart. My desire to make this is way past 11. <3

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  30. I found everything except the globe! Been to 2 stores and no go :( Might just pay more to have it. I want to make snow guys too!

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  31. Is the globe glass or plastic and what size was it. From pic of it sitting on mat I would guess around 4-4.5" inches.

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    1. Globe is plastic, and that sounds about right for the height!

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    2. Found them! Tues night, fail. Wed went to Hobby Lobby and spent 3.99 on one glass one, hit up same Dollar Tree next door from Tues and (Angels Singing) the top shelf had them. Bought 4! Gotta do a return tonight. Was thinking styrofoam cones could be shaped to make the snowmen, but more and more thinking that clay will be easier to shape.

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    3. Oops, styrofoam if I decide to make a snowman globe.

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  32. Whelp, time to go poke around the dollar stores again!! You two amaze me.

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  33. This is the cutest thing ever!!!!!!!

    I bet my Dollar Tree never gets these little globes. My DT never gets any of the good things people haul online.

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    Replies
    1. I was right, so far no globes at all, didn't even have the little moss rocks. *sadness*

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  34. I didn't know I needed a terrarium until now... :D

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  35. Wow! I need this now. I'm picturing covering a wall with tiny terrariums with all our different fandoms!

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  36. I love how it fits in perfectly with all the Tiggers!

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  37. This is lovely! And also, are these globes small enough that you could make an entire set of Christmas ornaments out of these (I'm having a really hard time judging size)? Either different scenes from one favorite geekdom, or (eek!) one each for all of your geekdoms (like a Doctor Who one, a Harry Potter one, a Star Wars one....). My love of terrariums is not normal -- this made me so happy.

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